One of the hallmarks of light-spin interaction in solids is the appearance of photocurrent that depends on the light helicity. Recent studies have shown that helicity dependent photocurrent (HDP) emerges due to light induced spin current and the inverse spin Hall effect of semimetal thin films. We have studied HDP in metal/semimetal bilayers. Compared to Bi single layer films, we find the HDP is enhanced in metal/Bi bilayers. For the bilayers, the sign of HDP under back illumination reverses from that of front illumination. The back illumination photocurrent is the largest for Ag/Bi bilayers among the bilayers studied. Using a diffusive spin transport model, we show that the HDP sign reversal under back illumination is caused by spin absorption and spin to charge conversion at the interface. Such interfacial effects contribute to the HDP enhancement under front illumination for the bilayers when the Bi layer thickness is small. These results show that the HDP can be used to assess interface states with strong spin orbit coupling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics